Permira vows to protect heritage in £300m Dr Martens brand deal

PRIVATE equity firm Permira yesterday pledged to “respect the heritage” of iconic British footwear brand Dr Martens after it paid £300m to snap up the family-run firm which makes the boots.

The deal will see Northampton-based R Griggs Group join Permira’s other fashion brands, which include Hugo Boss and New Look.

David Suddens, chief executive of Dr Martens, said Permira had been attracted by the brand’s “authenticity”.

“The Permira Funds respect that heritage, and want to support the management team in nurturing it,” he added.

It is the second time Dr Martens has been put up for sale in the last two years, after the family-owned R Griggs held an auction that failed to attract enough bids.

Griggs was the first cobbler to use an air-cushioned sole, developed by Dr Maertens and Dr Funck.

Originally aimed at workmen, the boots became popular with the early skinhead youth movement of the 1960s and with punks in the 1970s. They had a resurgence when Britpop emerged in the 1990s.

Dr Martens now sell around 5m pairs a year. Barclays acted as financial adviser to Permira while Rothschild advised R Griggs. The deal is expected to complete in January.

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